Local Chick-Fil-A owner reacts to controversy


The owner here says it's hard to say if the CEO's controversial comments have affected business. He says it's rained so much here lately that business is down anyway. But he wants to make it clear that CEO's opinions have nothing to do with this particular restaurant.

It was busy day at Chick-Fil-A in southwest Houston.

"Those comments don't have an effect on the food," customer Tracey Rosenthal said.

But even as customers chow down, the owner at one location is forced to address his boss - the company's CEO, who made controversial statements slamming same-sex marriage.

"He has his personal viewpoints and that's his personal viewpoints. We as operators are free to choose and do as we see fit," Chick-Fil-A owner and operator Jesse Chaluh said.

Chaluh says customers have asked him for his opinion on same-sex marriage, but he never answers the question.

"Politics are for politicians and chicken is for us, restauranteurs," he said.

But his disclaimer doesn't go far enough for some groups.

"There's a lot of outrage," said Noel Freeman, who heads the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

"Our position is that Chick-Fil-A has the right to say whatever they want, take whatever position they want and we have a right to take our business elsewhere," he said.

He's boycotting Chick-Fil-A's local franchises.

"That's a risk that franchise owners take. And if franchise owners are hurting because of the policies that their corporate owners take, that's something that the franchise owners need to take up with corporate," Freeman said.

"What would you say to somebody who didn't want to come to your store because of this whole controversy?" we asked Chaluh.

"They're free to do what they want. What a world. They're free to do what they want. I wouldn't say anything at all. If you don't want to come here because of your beliefs, great. That's up to you," he said.

Several politicians throughout the country have spoken out about not wanting to allow Chick-Fil-As to open in their areas.

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